Seems like I have to rewrite my list of recommended freeware tools for your PC (or business) every few months…
OK, here is my list of my favorite free tools for December 2007:
Stuff to install on every new PC
- Web Browser: For surfing install Firefox with integrated Google Toolbar and consider some of these Firefox extensions
- Antivirus: AVG AntiVirus or Free AV Personal Edition (ehem. H+B EDV)
- AntiSpyware: Ad Aware Personal Edition is one of the best Anti Spyware programms
- System Optimizer: CCleaner is a freeware system optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. (usually not needed for new PCs, though)
- Instant Messaging: Trillian for instant messaging and chat
- View PDFs: To view PDF files on the web use Foxit Reader as a swift replacement for the boring Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Create PDFs: PrimoPDF Writer creates PDF files for free (tip: If you want non-admin users to be able to create PDFs you must set PrimoPDFs folder “writeable” for “everyone”
- Explorer Add-On: FolderSize (WinXP only) adds a feature to Windows Explorer which was always missing: Explorer shows the size of folders (i.e. size of all files in each folder including subfolders)
- Packer/Zip-Tool: jzip is an excellent freeware ZIP tool that plugs into Windows explorer and handels many different file formats.
- Defragger: A few years ago a freeware of OO’s defragger was available with OODefrag 2000 Free Edition (WinXP only), but they don’t offer it anymore themselves. It is a little bit older than O&O software’s latest version, but it is free and runs on workstations and servers
- Photo Manager: Picasa for photo managing (includes free photo hosting at Google’s Picasa Website)
- Remote Login: When I need to access a remote PC (e.g. Dad’s PC:-)) I use LogMeIn, the perfect tool for friends’ and families’ online support, too!
- Music Manager: iTunes from Apple – together with an ipod the final solution for MP3s
- Burn CDs: CDBurnerXP burns data and music on CDs and DVDs
- View Videos: QuickTime Alternative has everything to play MOV video files with the need to install anything from apple
- Text Editor: Crimson Editor a great freeware text/code editor
- Finally….. Consider one of the screensavers I have bookmarked…
Using automated (=runs all the time and you don’t have to think about it) offsite (=data is stored out of house) online (=uses the Internet to move data) backup is the preferred choice for file based backup of your own and self created files nowadays – at least in my opinion. Your data is encrypted on your PC and then send onto a server somewhere else. These online services also notify you whenever the backup fails or can’t run. Very handy!
In our office we combine this option with monthly or weekly full image backups (=all data of all drives written into a file and then stored on a NAS device in the office) of all servers and workstation in order to achieve a reliable backup.
- Offsite File Backup Option 1: Mozy Backup offers free online backup of up to 2 GB (you install a software on your PC that backs up data to Mozy’s servers throughout the day). If you have more data they offer paid-for options, too. They were recently bought by EMC/DELL so they should be around for a while…
- Offsite File Backup Option 2: Crashplan also has a nice software to do the job and they have reasonable prices. They offer one nice additional feature (for the paranoids who want to store the data themselves): You can run one or more computers of your own with their software on it that can act as backup target, i.e. your offsite backup is stored on your own systems (e.g. we run one crashplan target PC in my home for our company).
- Other offsite options: Offsite backup using Amazon S3 as cheap online storage (I have yet to find a good software for this); or: Carbonite, BeInSync
- Disk Image Backup: Although I prefer Acronis TrueImage as disk imager for our company, there is a nice little alternative available wit Drive Snapshot. Both disk imaging programs enable the user to run the backup (while working with the PC), restore and view backed up hard disk data, easily and safely. Both runs on Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/PE/x64/Vista.